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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

1917

Breathless & Crystal Clear


Sam Mendes 1917 will leave you feeling breathless but not in shock. If you watch carefully, you'll see how 1917 suggests that war should be the LAST possible resort. Every moment sucks you into the realization that it must be quite rare for the cost of war to be considered fully among those who partake in it up until they smack down in the middle of it all.


Shot in one brilliant powerhouse take, 1917 follows two young British soldiers during the First World War who are given a dangerous mission: Deliver a message deep in hostile territory that will prevent 1,600 men, and one of the soldier’s brothers from entering a deadly trap. Fear, loss, gratitude, bitterness, anger, compassion, and shock. These are the feelings you see portrayed throughout the film at different moments. War is one of those monsters that when it's standing in front of you, it's overly complex but also crystal clear. The cast did a tremendous job of mastering the mindsets one can develop from the events they experience.


Thomas Newman’s score was exotically beautiful. 1917 is not one of those war movies that constantly rely on music to carry the story out. Music is brought in when necessary and what you hear contributes to what you will see. Roger Deakins continues to be one of the world’s greatest cinematographers. Aside from the endless praise for carrying out 1917 in one take, the actual images on-screen blossoms with excellence. Particularly the night scenes. Shooting a film in one take means you can't be rushed and audiences will have the ability to really see the whole film through the lens of the characters. Really see and feel the war through their eyes.


War films are really not my genre because the characters never go beyond the wars they're fighting. 1917 really stuck with me because Mendes encourages vulnerability. The level of emotion, the actors bring, let's you into their suffering and you get to know them in ways most war movies don't usually let you.


1917 could not have come at a better time. Affliction leads to war and we are living in a time of affliction. We must all consider the gravity of whatever is to come, going forward. If there's a more peaceful way of handling things, then we must consider it and make our way towards it. World Wars today will not be like 1917, they'll be worse. We have many more sophisticated means in terms of military might than they did at the time and what we have just might destroy us all. 1917 is a wake-up call, a cautionary tale, a scream for an alternative and a map of sorts with directions only determined by the choices we make from here on out.

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